BlackBerry 10 Jam Unconference session ideas

A number of BlackBerry-centric blogs are running contests for a pass to the BlackBerry 10 Jam Conference. To enter, you submit ideas for additional sessions to be held during the 3rd day of the Jam. I’ve been thinking about ideas over the last week and have entered a number of session ideas. Thanks for RIM, BerryReview, N4BB, and CrackBerry for running these contests.


Idea 1:

Idea: “Transitioning from WebWorks to Native C++/Cascades development”

An overview of how best to make the leap from Web development with WebWorks/JS/HTML/CSS to using C++ and Cascades with the native SDK. How to adapt your web development skills to native. What are the main differences and how best to start learning. What are the major differences conceptually.

Why: RIM is pushing these multiple development routes to attract developers of all areas, but there is limited information on jumping from one platform to another. I am currently doing WebWorks apps (see “Many Notes” on AppWorld) because I have previous experience with web but I want to hop over to native once Cascades is released. Knowing how best to make this transition will make it faster to get started and will encourage WebWorks developers like myself to consider taking advantage of the speed/performance of Native.

Idea 2:

Idea: How to integrate “Social” into your app

Detail: BlackBerry 10 Flow is all about smooth integration of apps and data, and BlackBerry users by nature are very social (BBM, Twitter, etc). A session detailing how we can integrate Facebook, Twitter, BBM, LinkedIn, and other social networks into our apps in a way that is as slick as the multitasking on BlackBerry 10. Go over how to integrate each network, how social can benefit apps (chat, sharing, information, collaboration, etc), and how BlackBerry 10 enables social integration.

Why? I planned to integrate Twitter sharing into a PlayBook application that I made but had trouble implementing the user authentication that Twitter requires. This session would provide direction on the right way to integrate these social services and make it easy for us to get our apps out there and to empower our users to get more out of our apps and their social networks.


Idea 3:

I would love to see a session on “User Interface guidelines for the BlackBerry PlayBook/BB10″.

We need to be given guidelines on how to design apps that fit the design patterns of the core apps. Too many designers/developers make apps that don’t fit the PlayBook style. The session could cover the main aspects of a PlayBook app’s design – hidden menu’s with swipe down, multi-tasking within the app, fluid UIs, and anything else to make apps fit better on the platform alongside RIM’s own apps.

Also going over the right way to implement these swipe-down menus would be good – even some of the best apps like Files & Folders don’t get it exactly right.

Idea 4:

Session: “How to monetize your apps with Freemium/IAPs”

Detail: go over how to use In App Purchases to monetize your apps with a freemium business model rather than traditional Paid or Ad-Supported monetization. Go over how to design apps to convert better and how to use RIM’s App World In App Purchase APIs. How to market freemium apps and how to track conversion rates/conversion funnels.

Why: this is a tricky way to build, design, and monetize apps, requiring some changes to how you think about your app as you design it. RIM’s experts and/or developers who have had success with this model can provide tips on how best to implement this type of business model on BlackBerry 10.


Idea 5:

Idea: “How to build a flexible User Interface for BlackBerry 10 – smartphone, tablets, and more!”

Detail: BlackBerry 10 will be on tablets (PlayBook, etc), Smartphones, and other devices (automotive, embedded, etc), meaning there will be many screen sizes, pixel densities, and screen shapes. For apps to work across all of these different devices, the user interface will need to be optimized for each one. Developers need to know the best way to do this, and how to dynamically have their apps customize to the difference screens.

Why: My current BlackBerry PlayBook app “Many Notes” will work fine on the BB10 Smartphone, but obviously the user interface elements (buttons, text size, etc) will be too small on the higher density screen of the BB10 smartphones. I’d love to get instruction on how to update my app so that it will dynamically resize elements of the UI by detecting the device it is running on and optimize for that screen size. This would be a useful sessions in helping PlayBook developers transition from tablet to smartphone with the release of BB10.

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